ANTHRAX & THE RAVEN AGE
Utrecht (NL)-TivoliVredenburg-19 February 2017
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Anthrax’s breakthrough and signature album `Among The Living’. Many Anthrax fans often cite `Among The Living’ as their favourite album so it is only logical for Anthrax to go on tour and celebrate the 30th anniversary of `Among The Living’ by playing this album in it’s entirety during the 2017 Among the Kings Tour.
(Michael Burrough, singer of The Raven Age)
The young melodic metal band The Raven Age, hailing from London, UK opened the evening with a dynamic set of powerful and riff-driven metal. I have to admit that it’s kind of funny to see a bunch of youngsters on stage, banging their collective heads off but missing the “necessary” long hair which is (in my humble opinion) more or less “essential” while performing the “fine art of headbanging” but all jokes aside, this insignificant little fact did not distract from their enthusiastic and professional performance that kept me and most of the audience captivated for most of their set.
Michael Burrough (L), (Dan Wright (M) and Matt Cox (R)
(Guitarist George Harris)
As a matter of fact The Raven Age made a much better impression on me when I saw them as support act for Iron Maiden (guitarist George Harris is the son of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris) at the GelreDome in Arnhem (NL), last year. The Raven Age did an excellent job of warming the Anthrax crowd and I’m sure that we will hear more of these guys in the near future.
Michael Burrough (L) and Jai Patel (R)
Anthrax opened their first set with ,,A.I.R.’’ and ,,Madhouse’’ from the `Spreading The Disease’ album and it was clear from the get-go that the band meant serious business for this evening’s entertainment. The first set comprised of a handful of songs from their recent album `For All Kings’ (,,Evil Twin’’, ,,Blood Eagle Wings’’ and my personal favourite ,,Breathing Lightning’’) and ,,Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t’’ from `Worship Music’ but it were the older tunes such as ,,Be All, End All’’ (from 1988’s `State Of Euphoria’ with a obligatory “crowd-sing-along-participation-part”) and ,,Medusa’’ (another gem from the `Spreading The Disease’ album) that gained the biggest response from the audience during this first set.
The second set started with the famous Blues Brothers intro-tape and we all knew what that meant; the entire rendition of the `Among The Living’ album! I’ve been to many Anthrax shows over the last three decades and my fondest memories of Anthrax go way back to 1987 when Anthrax just released their then new album `Among The Living’ and headlined the IJsselhallen in Zwolle, NL (along with Paul Di’anno’s Battlezone & Testament) so it goes without saying that I was more than excited to hear and experience the `Among The Living’-set and I’m relieved to inform that Anthrax totally lived up to my high expectations. No wear and tear during Anthrax’s show! “Newcomer” (since 2013 that is) Jonathan Donais (of Shadows Fall’s fame) fits perfectly well within this line-up and he delivered his guitar solos with deadly precision without losing the overall touch and feel of the original recorded solo.
I thought it was kind of odd that Anthrax didn’t play the regular and familiar song sequence from the studio album but I’m sure that they have own reasons for doing so and it had little to no effect on the crowd reaction whatsoever. The only downside (besides the absence of Joey Belladonna’s `injun’ war bonnet during the song ,,Indians’’ and some pick pockets scum within the crowd) of this predominantly perfect evening was that the band didn’t play any encores. The band headed straight into the `Trust’ cover ,,Antisocial’’ after ,,Imitation Of Life’’ but I assume that Anthrax were on a strict curfew for this particular evening. I have to admit that I really hoped for maybe one or two B-sides from the `Among the Living’-era such ,,I’m The Man’’ or Black Sabbath’s ,,Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’’ but to no avail. Other than that, this was for me one of Anthrax’s best performances since years!
03. Evil Twin
05. Blood Eagle Wings
06. Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
07. Be All, End All
08. Breathing Lightning
Set 2: `Among The Living’
Opening: I Can’t Turn You Loose (Blues Brothers song)
09. Among the Living
10. Caught in a Mosh
11. One World
12. I Am the Law
13. A Skeleton in the Closet
14. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
15. A.D.I. / Horror of It All
17. Imitation of Life
18. Antisocial (Trust cover)
All photos by Rob van Dalen